Friday 08.19.12: Colonial Creek Campground to Early Winters Campground
I made my earliest start to date, wanting to cross the pass well before the hit afternoon but I still didn’t hit the road until 9:30. It was good and cool though, which as the road immediately began to climb was nice.
The day is mostly climbing albeit through more superlative scenery. The first climb peaked out after a couple of miles with a stunning view of Ross Lake. The dam could be viewed a couple of miles past that.
The road wasn’t uphill for the whole 32 miles thankfully it had it’s flat moments and even a few descents. But you’d get these relentless 3 to 4 miles continuously uphill sections that once the sun was high enough were just an endurance test.
Inching up the mountain
the summer sun beating down
a dragonfly floats on by.
Road construction was another “feature” of the climb with one section blocked off with a stop light on a timer which certainly didn’t allow for a bicycler to get though (at least in the uphill side), several points had flaggers and guide cars but the just waved me through. But the worst was the new chipseal that had put down. Super rough it felt like riding on cobble stones and definitely added to the difficulty.
When I had set off I had thought it was 21 miles to the pass but looking at my maps around mile 23 I realized it was closer to 32! That was a bit if a downer especially as I wad already pretty beat. Still the scenery kept getting better and better with peaks towering above all around and streams always crossing the route and sometimes following the road for a bit.
A brook follows alongside for a time,
singing it’s joyful song.
Too soon our ways part.
The character of the landscape began to change – not so much underbrush, scrubbier looking trees and every do often in shadowy spits a patch of snow. There was a 4 mile 6% grade straight climb with the sun in my back and I was at Rainey Pass. If I didn’t know this was the first of two passes I would have been devastated after the 2 mile descent that followed the road turned upward again. But this was the final effort and after another 3-4 mile climb I reached Washington Pass 5,477 feet.
Now I’m in Eastern Washington and it was all downhill to my Campground. The initial descent was hair raising, 7% grade, big turns all on new pavement (not the chipseal, I wonder if that earlier stuff was still in progress?), but fun. It began to earn as I got lower and the trees became the characteristic E. WA scrubland.
It was easy enough ride to the Early Winters Campground but I’ve never seen a campground with less – water and an outhouse the only amenities. So I rode an easy 2.5 miles into Mazama where I had dinner at the Country Inn (which is a lot more high falutin’ than you’d think). The ranch there had some live music, some sort of accordion driven marachi-ish stuff. I lingered a bit and the it was back to camp. Which is right on a very pretty creek which certainly qualifies as a major amenity.
Total miles today: 53.6
Total to date: 337.6